Monday, January 23, 2012

On Your Mark. Get Set. BLOG!!!! Here we sit on Session Eve awaiting the start of the 2012 Legislative Session. The session officially gets underway at noon tomorrow with organizing sessions in both Houses. A light slate of committee meetings is also in the offing, including hearings in the House Education Funding Committee and the Senate Education Committee.

The House Education Committee will be considering Representative Woodard's (R-Belle Plaine) HF 1860 (Link:, a bill that would mandate that charter schools receive the referendum revenue attributable to a student in a school district who attends a charter school located in the same school district. I have yet to see the data runs to determine how many districts and charter schools this would affect and the effect would certainly vary widely throughout the state. Obviously, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Anoka-Hennepin districts would see a considerable reduction in their revenue due to their size, but undoubtedly a number of small to mid-size districts could also see crippling reductions.

The challenge for affected SEE districts is that due to the failure of the current array of categorical formulas to generate considerable revenue (all but six SEE school districts have general education revenue per pupil below the state average). Because this is the case, SEE districts often have to pass referenda to make up for the lack of funding generated through categorical formulas. This would make the "leakage" of any revenue difficult to swallow.

The Senate Education Committee will be discussing SF 1493 (Link:, a bill authored by Senator Daley (R-Eagan) that would require prospective teachers to pass a basic skills test in reading, writing, and mathematics before they could enter a college of education in pursuit of a teaching license.

Nothing like getting the session off to a quiet, non-controversial start.

Interesting Article in the Sunday New York Times. This past Sunday's New York Times included it's quarterly "Education Life" section and, as usual, it contained a number of interesting a thought-provoking articles. The article I found most interesting was one penned by former Harvard President and Presidential economic adviser Lawrence Summers. Summers' article, entitled "What You (Really) Need to Know" contained a number of observations of how the pursuit of knowledge has changed and how the skills of collaboration and data analysis have become increasingly important in today's economy.

I don't know if this link will work successfully as a registration (and perhaps a subscription) is required to view articles, but here's hoping it works, as it's a very well-written and pertinent article.

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